Brought to you by OBS reviewer Marie-Reine*Beware of possible spoilers*
After getting turned to a vampire as a teenager, Lily has trained to be a Sister, a Vamplayer hunter, at the Afterlife Academy of Exceptionally Dark Arts. She and her two other Sisters are sent undercover to high schools, where they must stop Vamplayers (smooth talking bad boys who happen to also be vampires) who would turn unsuspecting teenage girls into killing machines. In this latest assignment, Lily quickly finds herself investigating alone, without the help of her two Sisters who abandon her for the irresistible popular girl. As the Third Sister, Lily feels unprepared for the evil she must face as well as protecting the innocent humans of the school. And all this while trying to survive the worst of enemy of all: high school itself.The author, Rusty Fischer, has created a universe where there are different kinds of vampires: those who kill and cause mayhem by spreading their kind, and those who help innocent humans and protect them from the bad vampires. But not all vampires are smooth, sophisticated and intellectually superior, as exemplified with the lead character in the story, Lily Fielding. She was a normal teenage girl who was bitten and then became third string in a fighting trio. Despite her vampire powers, she still retains a lot of the awkwardness and naiveté of youth and adolescence. This makes her a much more relatable character than the other vampire characters in the story who are aloof for much of the story. The reader can connect to her as a narrator because Lily is in the trenches, falling for human boys and vampire boys alike, feeling acutely the loss and rejection of her friends. She is imperfect, but realistically so, with an endearing hint of Eighties nostalgia.
While the majority of the book is entertaining—tinted with Lily’s sarcastic humor and pop references—the ending leaves something to be desired. This is disappointing since the climax and final showdown is satisfyingly difficult and heartbreaking for Lily. Lily is put through the ringer and she comes out a better and more compassionate character. But this is tempered with odd plot choices from Fischer, especially concerning certain characters. What is meant as redemption and change comes across as a reneging of almost all of the events of the book. Rather than promoting growth, the ending is frustrating because it returns some characters to the status quo, and there seems to be no repentance and no accountability for some of the offences these characters committed during the story. Adding to this frustration is the author’s choice to introduce a (odious and trite) love triangle, one made all the more jarring considering the characters that are forcibly and awkwardly pigeonholed in this unnecessary plot twist.
This is an enjoyable read and an interesting addition to the vampire YA fiction genre. Though it suffers from some awkward plot choices at the end, this story comes together nicely and could become a series to follow (disclaimer: a series has not been officially announced, but it definitely feels like there could be a sequel).